A group of Toowoomba women are brightening the lives of people in need by sewing handmade items for charity. Sewing for Charity volunteer Jean Turner started the Toowoomba branch of the Australian charity two years ago and has since donated thousands of items to hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

Turner said women found friendship and purpose during their hours of sewing each Tuesday. “It gives women a chance to sit and talk,” Turner said, “your hands are busy but you can help people with their troubles and worries.”

Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki MP commended the group on their wonderful contribution to the community. “Groups such as this are so important to recreate the ‘village’ we have lost in our modern society,” Janetzki said, “sewing for charity brings people of all ages together, they learn new skills and can create with purpose. Some months they make up to 1000 items which are brightening the lives of sick children, foster children, the elderly and the disadvantaged.”

Turner said the group made many drawstring bags containing clothing and toiletries for children entering foster care and injured children who had been airlifted to the Toowoomba Hospital with just the clothes on their back. “We make anything and everything,” she said, “we make turbans and headwear for chemo patients as well as curved under-arm cushions and seatbelt covers for cancer patients to make them more comfortable while receiving treatment.”

Turner said the group recently made 20 superhero capes for sick children at the Lady Cilento Hospital. They are currently sewing more than 200 reusable sanitary items for women in the Solomon Islands. “I am also teaching young women to sew as well because I believe the transference of skills is very important,” she said.

Turner also volunteers at St Vinnie’s and said the group often upcycles used textiles which stops material going into landfill. About 15 women meet at Turner’s home and sew for four to six hours every Tuesday. The group is looking to expand and is searching for a donated space in Toowoomba where they could operate from one to two days a week.

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